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A 'Conspiracy': Online Antisemitism and Marilyn Manson

For those who have experienced the social media smear campaign of Amber Heard and harassment of her supporters, the specter of the Marilyn Manson/Evan Rachel Wood lawsuit looms large on the horizon. Bot Sentinel found that the strategies used against Amber and her supporters are already beginning to be utilized against Marilyn Manson’s accusers, most prominently Evan Rachel Wood, who is by far the most famous of them. She is also one of his Jewish accusers.

Antisemitism, per her account and that of Ashley Morgan Smithline, was a tactic in Manson’s abuse of them. Social media users have already begun to state that Manson cannot have weaponized antisemitism against Wood because she joined him in activities she at first believed to be ironic — such as saluting a Nazi flag — which entirely ignores that Wood was still a teenager, albeit a legal adult, and under the influence of an abuser twice her age. One Twitter user went so far as to deny that Wood was Jewish at all because she was not religiously involved during the time she was in a relationship with Manson. They additionally implied that Wood only began to practice religiously in order to be able to make allegations of antisemitism against Manson.

Judaism is an ethnoreligious group into which one can be born or convert but cannot leave simply by ceasing religious practice or becoming an atheist; if you have a Jewish parent, you are almost certainly considered Jewish by one of the major Jewish religious movements. Evan Rachel Wood’s mother converted to Judaism before she was born and raised her in the Jewish community, therefore she is Jewish. It is more than plausible that Manson, who collects Nazi memorabilia and has referred to himself as a slave to Jews, would have used Wood’s Jewishness against her.

There is a specific form of misogyny experienced by Jewish women that will almost certainly be leveled against Wood online and in court. Jewish women are frequently stereotyped as litigious, nagging, and greedy. They are also stereotyped as controlling, abusive mothers and romantic partners. The latter trope may be invoked regarding Manson’s threats against Wood’s child, her subsequent relocation from California to Tennessee, and the ensuing custody battle with her ex-partner, Jamie Bell. This is certain to be discussed if the lawsuit goes to trial because the FBI letter Manson alleges Wood forged was submitted as evidence in that custody case. Widely known and accepted antisemitic conspiracy theories (such as those in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion) are also likely to be recycled by Manson supporters. This is of particular concern because Manson’s suit alleges “criminal conspiracy” between Wood, her partner Illma Gore, and a number of other accusers. For those who already hold antisemitic beliefs, the notion that a Jewish woman is leading a conspiracy to oppress a non-Jewish man is easy to accept.

In recent days, pro-Depp Twitter users have begun to promulgate baseless rumors that Amber Heard is converting to Judaism and utilize antisemitic dogwhistles against the media outlets which have supported her.

Given that this online faction is more likely to support Marilyn Manson than others, this activity adds additional weight to concerns about the ways in which antisemitism will be used moving forward against Evan Rachel Wood and Ashley Morgan Smithline. Allyship on this matter is crucial; Jews already experience an outsized proportion of online harassment and urgently need backup from those not personally vulnerable to antisemitism. All those supporting Jewish survivors must educate themselves on common antisemitic tropes and dogwhistles.

Survivors Be Heard will continue to write about this case and monitor hate speech as it pertains to domestic abuse survivors. Forthcoming blogs will break down the background of the Manson/Wood lawsuit, analyze legal filings, and provide detailed evidence of Marilyn Manson’s abusive behavior.

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